SPEAK ILL OF THE LIVING

Mark Arsenault, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (250p) ISBN 978-1-59058-139-1

Arsenault's second mystery about investigative reporter Eddie Bourque, who's now scraping out a living writing and teaching in the mill town of Lowell, Mass., is even better than his Shamus-finalist debut, Spiked (2003). Like Archer Mayor in his Vermont-set Joe Gunther series, Arsenault excels at depicting ordinary folks adjusting to changing economic circumstances. He also has an abiding respect for the role of print journalism in telling their stories. "News writers can't afford writer's block; it's a luxury for people without deadlines," Bourque muses as he sits in a Lowell diner and punches into his laptop a story for the Associated Press about banker Roger Lime, supposedly carjacked and burned to death, who suddenly resurfaces alive six months later, as shown in a kidnapper's photo sent to Lime's wife. The published story brings a letter from Bourque's older brother, Hank, who's serving a life sentence for murder. "I know who's doing this," Hank writes, sending Bourque off on a dark and dangerous search for truths both personal and public. Arsenault's extremely likable hero has a knack for getting info from tough female cops, but best of all, he's a completely believable journalistic icon—a man who makes the right choices because he believes in the value of his work. (Feb. 1)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-1-59058-508-5
Open Ebook - 978-1-4587-1093-2
Paperback - 405 pages - 978-1-59058-156-8
Open Ebook - 250 pages - 978-1-61595-002-7
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